Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Live and Kicking: Betty Bunny Wants a Goal by Michael Kaplan

Betty Bunny was a handful.

She knew this because at her very first practice, when she picked up the ball and ran with it, her coach said, "Betty Bunny, you are a handful."

Betty Bunny wants what she wants when she wants it.

And now that she's on a soccer team, she doesn't want to set herself a goal; she wants to score a goal and she wants it NOW!

Brother Henry whines about having to go to Betty's games. Teen brother Bill rolls his eyes and smirks.

"There probably won't be any goals," 

And Bill is right, at least about Betty's scoring prowess. Betty discovers she can't kick anything, except, inexplicably, her own foot. Back home, Betty stuffs her uniform into her trash can and launches into a full-time funk. Sister Kate gives her the old "try, try again" speech and reminds her that at the end of the season everybody gets a trophy, "no matter how bad she plays." Reluctantly, Betty fishes her jersey out of the trash.

But the next game is no better.

"I tried and tried, just like you said, Kate," Betty moaned.

"Maybe you're just not that
good!" points out big brother Bill.

Mom and Dad are tired of Betty's moaning and Bill's snarky remarks. They decree that Betty will finish the season and that Bill will coach her every day after school.

"Why can't I learn to keep my big mouth shut?" Bill said.

"Maybe you need to
practice," suggested Betty helpfully.

Practice doesn't make perfect, but Betty progresses and finally does score her goal.

Next to the first time she tried chocolate cake, it was the the happiest moment of her life.

In Michael Kaplan's latest Betty Bunny tale, Betty Bunny Wants a Goal (Dial Books, 2014), the fun comes from interplay between the impetuous and annoying Betty and her sister and two brothers. Sister Kate tries to mentor her insistent little sister, while Henry and Bill can't quite help lapsing into sarcastic side comments, while the parents preside over the siblingitis with perturbed patience. Stephanie Jorisch's frenetic illustrations cleverly portray the ebb and flow of emotions that swirl around Betty, a one-bunny vortex of energy who sucks the whole household into her high-maintenance manias. Preschoolers will understand Betty's whirlwind drive to have it all, and older kids and parents will enjoy the humorous interplay between the rest of the characters drawn into Betty's turbulent wake.

Other books in the Betty Bunny series include Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake (see review here) and sequels, Betty Bunny Wants Everything, Betty Bunny Is Very Busy, and Betty Bunny Didn't Do It.

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